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Hydrolysis of Salts


Acid-Base Properties of Salt Solutions:

definition of a salt:
  • an ionic compound made of a cation and an anion, other than hydroxide.

  • the product besides water of a neutralization reaction

A QUICK Tip to determine acidity or basicity of a salt:

1. Write the neutralization reaction in reverse (salt and water makes base and acid).

2. Break up the salt into its ions.

3. To write the base, add an OH- to the cation (the positive ion) for each + charge.

4. To write the acid, Add H+ to the anion (the negative ion) for each negative charge.

5. If you for a strong base, the salt is basic.  (NaOH, KOH, LiOH, Mg(OH)2 ...etc.)

    If you form a strong acid it is acidic.  (HCl, HNO3, HClO4, HBr...)

    If you form both a strong acid and a strong base it is neutral.


SODIUM ACETATE                                  NaC2H3O2

NaC2H3O2  + H2O ==> NaOH + HC2H3O2

Na+ C2H3O2-  + H2O ==> Na+ + OH- + HC2H3O2

Since NaOH is a strong base it breaks up and yields OH-, the salt is basic.

HC2H3O2 is a weak acid and will form (does not break up in water).



NH4Cl + H2O<=> NH4OH + HCl

Since HCl is a strong acid it breaks up and yields H+, the salt is acidic.

NH4+  + Cl- + H2O<=> NH3 +H2O + H+ + Cl-

NH4OH is a weak base. They generally stay together, however this is actually breaks down into ammonia and water.


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